Khang closes in on first LPGA title at CPKC Women's Open
August 27, 2023 10:02 AM
A late birdie burst saw Megan Khang hold off a hard-charging Kim Sei-young on Saturday, taking a three-shot lead in the LPGA CPKC Women's Canadian Open over the South Korean whose two eagles included a hole-in-one.
America's Khang, chasing a first LPGA title, birdied four of the last five holes on the way to a four-under par 68 in the third round Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.
She built an 11-under par total of 205 and despite a mid-round wobble ably withstood the pressure Kim piled on with a five-under par 67 for eight-under 208.
Former world number one Ko Jin-young was alone in third after a 71 for 210 while England's Georgia Hall and Yuka Saso shared fourth on 211.
"Honestly, (I'm) relieved that the day is over," Khang said. "It was kind of like you look at the leaderboard and you know who is behind you and you try to ignore it as much as you can, but it's kind of scary."
On a day when low scores were hard to come by, Kim launched her climb by gaining four strokes in the space of three holes, sandwiching birdies at seven and nine around her hole in one at the 184-yard par-three eighth.
"I took a five-iron, I hit a really solid shot," said Kim, who said it was the second ace of her life.
"Hole seven I made a birdie, so I feel like really excited after the birdie so I try to calm down," she said.
"I took the five-iron and hit it really solid, ball flight really awesome.
"A lot of people got, like, louder so it sounded like it's got in, so I was like, 'Oh, my body is like goosebump," said Kim, who claimed the last of her 12 LPGA titles back in 2020, when she won two including a major.
Kim was tied for first at the turn, but found herself three back after a bogey at the 10th after Khang had picked up her first two birdies of the day at the seventh and eighth.
- Hitting it good -
Things would change quickly again as Khang bogeyed the 10th and 12th and Kim birdied 13 and rolled in a long eagle putt at the driveable par-four 14th.
That put the South Korean up by two, but she wouldn't find another birdie and gave back one stroke with a bogey at 18.
Khang, meanwhile, closed strong, pushing her lead back to two strokes with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th before rolling in one more birdie at the last.
She did a fine job of following the plan she suggested to her caddie to "do our best to try to stay in our own little world and take it one shot at a time."
While Khang is seeking her first title, she has 33 top-10 finishes on her resume. Three of those have come this year, including a tie for third at the Women's PGA Championship.
In order to break through, Khang said, she'll try to stick to the same things she's done all week.
"I was hitting it really good today," she said. "I'm just going to try my best to keep that same mindset, stay patient. These fairways are tight and the greens are firm."